Pete’s Picks – Donegal v Derry
Donegal v Derry
Donegal and Monaghan have contested the last two Ulster SFC finals and are expected to contest the forthcoming renewal too.
Donegal v Derry, Football, Sky Sports 1, 7pm
BoyleSports are laying defending champions Donegal at 8/15 to retain the Anglo-Celt Cup while Monaghan are positioned in the market as 2/1 second favourites. Furthermore, the Tír Chonaill men have won three of the last four provincial championships so deservedly take their place at the head of the aforementioned market.
However, Derry have an opportunity to spoil the Donegal-Monaghan dominance by dethroning Rory Gallagher’s side in Clones. Brian McIver’s Oak Leafers are 8/1 rank outsiders to prevail in Ulster and, recent history tells us, such dismissive odds are understandable as Derry have not been crowned kingpins of the northern landscape since 1998.
The expanses of St Tiernach’s Park should be to the liking of a Donegal unit that are equally adept at winning matches in a rigid or fluid fashion.
Gallagher’s team are 1/5 to advance in regulation time and a number of professional punters are sure to be enticed by such a quote.
However, there is obviously no value in supporting Donegal in such a manner. Derry, on the other hand, are priced at 5/1 with the draw factored into calculations at 10/1.
These two counties met last January 31st in the National Football League Division 1 in Ballybofey with Donegal securing two points courtesy of a 1-15 to 0-12 triumph.
Donegal also won by six points (1-11 to 0-8) against Derry in the Ulster final of 2011, the Oak Leafers’ last appearance in the decider.
On this occasion, Donegal are 5/4 giving Derry a five-point handicap betting buffer while Gallagher’s charges can be supported at 5/6 with BoyleSports -4.
Derry finished eighth of eight teams in the top-tier of the league with just one victory and a draw out of their seven encounters in the secondary competition to crow about scoring an accumulative total of just 4-75.
Additionally, they were criticised for the ultra-conservative style of play they adopted in a number of those games, none more so than the aberration that was their clash with Dublin at headquarters.
Nevertheless, there existed – as one would expect to be totally honest – a greater spark to McIver’s soldiers when Derry sent Down into the All-Ireland qualifiers in their respective provincial quarter-final. Still, Down had been reduced to 14 men in that tie at the start of the second half as Conall McGovern was brandished with a straight red card.
Yet, it took an Eoin Bradley additional-time free to secure a 0-12 to 0-11 triumph for the hosts.
Donegal, too, will have a detailed plan in place to try and nullify Bradley and Mark Lynch, who, between them, contributed 0-10, 0-5 each including five frees of Derry’s tally at Celtic Park. If such a plan works, and it should, where else will the scores come from for Derry?
Donegal’s class should be decisive.
Donegal -4 (Match Handicap) @ 5/6
Donegal To Win By 7-9 Points @ 10/3
*Prices correct at time of publication